30 April 2010

Kentucky Derby 136

In two days, Louisville, Kentucky will host the fastest two minutes in history, known around the world as the Kentucky Derby.

The race, held at Churchill Downs, has a rich history. The first race at the track was run May 17, 1875. You can find the entire story on Wikipedia or other sites through Google.

Last year’s race was marred with tragedy. A filly, Eight Belles, ran with the boys. She came in second, but broke both front ankles on the cool-, and was immediately euthanized. The event marked the first time a horse died in the Kentucky Derby. The incident made the headlines with speculation the jockey possibly pushed the horse too hard. Talk of whether fillies should be allowed to run in the Derby took over.

But, the talked died away and a year has passed. May 1st looms ahead meaning race time once again. This year a filly, Devil May Care, has her name on the playbooks. I’ll be rooting for her all the way.

Louisville really shines this time of year. There’s so much to do for both young and old. As a native Louisvillian, I enjoy being a part of it. It’s why I chose to use the city and Derby festivities as the backdrop for the beginning of my vampire romance series, starting with the Watchers gearing up for the fireworks show where thousands of spectators pack the waterfront, and among them, rogue vampires use their charms to lure victims into the shadows.

Kidnapping, murder and vampire drugs keep the stories alive, and scenes of steamy romance make the pages sizzle.

You can catch the big day on live streaming video at www.wave3.com. And, if you want to read about how the city comes alive when the sun goes down, start with Midnight Reborn, the first novel of the series.

D. (Diane) McEntire

The Watchers Series - Samhain Publishing



26 April 2010

Ancient Aliens

All right, I'll admit, I'm kinda hooked on this History Channel show. While watching I noticed a lot of it was pieced together from other shows they've done on the same topic, but have gone back in and expanded to make longer and more episodes. That's fine. It still stimulates the imagination. (Yeah, as if my imagination needs any more stimulation!)

On one episode (the series opener) they took these artifacts they found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharohs that look kind of like the space shuttle and enlarged them to scale to see if they would fly. How cool, to see these scientists out in a field flying these reproduction (made of a light weight wood) and flying them like model airplanes.

Is my inner geek showing?

Good, I don't mind a bit. It's rather fun. It all brings back points I've been pondering for months while watching other programs like, Life After People and reading books by Jack McDavitt (Eternity Road). It makes me think of how a distant civilization comes to earth long after we're gone and finds our ruins. How they sift through our garbage to discover the meaning of our world. What do you think they would say? How would they interpret our belongings and assign meaning to them? Much the way we do when we sift through monuments left behind by the Incas and the Mayans? We think we know the meaning or their pictograms, but do we really? Would the answers they extrapolate from the refuse be correct? Or would they filter it through a lens of their own understanding and get the entire thing wrong? Would we even be able to answer the question of the meaning of our civilization? - I know, it's deep thinking, but these are the thoughts that run through my head when I see programs of this nature. I can't seem to help myself.

And while I'm on the topic these very same concepts were explored on SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis and now Stargate: Universe. I have to admit for having a soft spot forming for Universe. I didn't know if I'd like it at first, it seemed too Battlestar Galactica rehash for my liking, but I've stuck with the show and am glad I did. It seems in this second season to be coming into its own a bit. I like it because it starts to pose--even if subconsciously--these same questions of ancient aliens and fallen civilizations on other planets.

The soil is fertile for storylines of this type. Where you go and what you do with them is totally up to you.



24 April 2010

Agent Double D.3 Reports - Making The Final Commitment

So you’ve been dating now for anywhere from three days to fifteen years and after countless times of losing your panties on park seats; the beach; ball games…you’ve decided its just about time someone gave you some serious commitment. Now, we’re not talking about marriage (good luck with that one girls) but a commitment which is far more forbidding and terminally tied to his bank balance. We’re talking about buying and sharing a house together.

What do you do when your lover is just hunky dory with a shack in the woods when you want a penthouse condominium in Miami? Can you accept the drafty corners of a castle or cave or would you prefer the cozy warmth of a 2010 prefab complete with all modern amenities? And if he’s trending towards a place you would rather be dead than live in what can you do to sway his wayward thinking?

Never fear, Agent Double D.3’s expert investigations into proper property nuptials will warn you what to expect and how to redirect your lover’s prime homemaking instincts. All this and a little home and baby-making too in Agent Double D3's guide to Making The Final Commitment.

Agent Double D.3 reports :

1. Vampires:

Unfortunately, girl, you are at a disadvantage when selecting your first house together with a vampire. Most vampires have lived several centuries longer than you and most of them are decidedly fond of their ancient mansion/castle that they already own, usually populated by at least three dozen servants almost all of the same age as your lover. This is all well and good if you like living in a dusty old, cold miserably grey castle with no double glazing, a poor hot water system and an air conditioning unit that looks like it was invented by Queen Victoria back in the time when gas lamps were just becoming all the rage. Now, if you’d prefer that Condo out on Malibu Beach you’ll need to explain how it would be so much more comfortable to walk around the house naked in a warm sunny beach house with no servants to peek and stare as you pose sexily for him on the living room couch.
If that doesn’t work just consider the relationship as part of a business venture. Make sure you get your name on the lease, get signed into a huge part of his estate, and then plunge a huge Stake into the Investment. After all, there isn’t any body to hide…

2. Werewolves:

Werewolves are simply lovers of nature. To them nothing is more beautiful than the wild outdoors, the twitter of birds in the trees, and the stream that trips happily past the home.They love to see the deer and raccoon who feed and play in the backyard. Unfortunately though, owning a hunting shack in the middle of a huge whopping forest somewhere doesn’t always appeal to the modern girl, alas. I mean, where are the stores, the sun tanning salons, the indoor toilets? If going without a shower for weeks at a time, peeing into holes in the ground and watching your beloved frolic and play in the mud and dirt for the rest of your life appeals to you, then by all means allow him to entertain his whim and move into the one room log cabin that his great, great, great grandpappy built just after Robert E. Lee kicked them damn yankee butts.
If you’d rather have the more modern conveniences and comforts of that little house in the suburbs you’ll need to be somewhat more sneaky than simply hiding his Kibble and Bits. (All that would do is make him sulk.) offer him a full fur body wash and massage, followed by a panty free evening in the sauna, and swimming pool. Gently remind him that none of these wonderful facilities, besides the panty free moment, are available in a little decrepit shack in the woods. If that fails. Well, think how wonderful it would be to live by yourself in this pretty little house in the suburbs with a huge log fireplace and your very own special, genuine did-it-all-yourself, wolf skin rug in front of it…

3. Regency:

Regency heroes are extremely particular in where they live. No self respecting man from this era would have fewer than a dozen servants. First off he’d need the butler, the cook and the manservant, then a few pretty maids for those times when he needed to, ah, expend a little nervous energy. This entails, off course, at least a fifteen room mansion with many waterclosets, bedrooms, tiny closets for secret assignations with the pretty maids…
Now, actually this isn’t a particularly bad deal—with some clever hand and body work, slinky nightdresses and a tub of whipped cream you should be able to convince you lover of the pointlessness of the half dozen pretty maids. You’d be much better off with a few extra men servants around the house to help keep things…fresh. But for goodness sake make sure they aren’t gay. You want to keep your future husband to yourself, remember…

4. Djinn:

Probably one of the most difficult of lovers to go into a joint venture like this with is the Djinn. When you have the ability to clap your hands, wrinkle a nose, blink an eye or slap an ass and create just about anything you like, well. Buying a house seems rather mundane in the extreme. Not to mention that the house you’d be able to buy would be so square and boring. There wouldn’t be any semi-naked dancing girls, pools, fountains, and those quaint little towers with the minarets on top that look so much like a collection of penises you’d think you were living in a giantesses’s toy cabinet. Now, you have to decide if you want to live tucked up in bed under a giant erection or not.
Good, now that we’ve determined the sensible move to make we have to figure out a way to make it happen. Overall this is perhaps the trickiest maneuver ever attempted by a human female which didn’t require hanging upside down on a dance pole with a triple prong vibrator in each hand.
In your sweetest, most reasonable voice ever, make sure your Djinn lover sees you slipping out of your panties and ask him, ever so nicely, to donate five million dollars to your trip to the bikini line waxers. Once he’s left the money in small bills, and is drooling after you, ask him if he’d mind fetching the extra stretchy, sensitive condoms you were using and left by the bed last night.
As soon as he’s popped back in the bottle, stuff the cork in it, seal it with superglue, and bury it in concrete. That way you’ll have your very own house in Hawaii without the worry of a billion half naked dancing girls or having to cope with the odd extremes of Djinn nature. Find yourself a more normal lover and get back to the real, pleasure for pleasures sake, deal.

5. Contemporary:

Oh Hell Girl you got it made. He wants everything you do with one exception and that’s for you to have your panties off waiting for him every morning, noon and night. Hey, maybe he does want everything you do…

6. Mermen:

Okay, now let’s not go building castles in the sand. LOL. Uhm, hey, I said let’s not go building castles in the sand. Because you know that’s just about what your loverboy will do. Big funking castles in the sand, with diamonds, precious gems, seashells, coral, gold and silver adornments. You’d have towers, cellar’s, dungeons, huge ballrooms with big funking fireplaces with algae mats and catfish playing with soggy balls of wool as they chase crabs across the sands. And yes, this huge wonderful edifice would be completely, totally and eternally under the sea.
It’s up to you, of course, whether or not you want to be cut off from civilization as you know it for the rest of your life. And yes, you’d probably look cute wearing a kelp skirt with no undies. But…do you really want to give up those margaritas by the pool in Miama with hunky lifeguards, suntans and those easy to peel off extra tight bikinis that drive the men insane.
If you don’t then try to persuade your fishy fellow to embrace your idea of a large beach house with its own private pool and patio. Indulge in a little naked one on one with some innovative use of the super oil slick suntan lotion. If that fails to work then purchase a couple of attack otters and when no one’s looking push him in the pool.
Works every time.

7. Futuristic/SciFi:

Mr. Futuristic/SciFi is, like, out of this world and that’s kinda what he’s going to be looking for when it comes to somewhere to live. Now, it may be kind of cool to go surfing down the solar streams when its time to look for the bad guys, or indulge in a little souped up solar sex. But being stuck inside a tin can thousands, or even millions, of miles away from the nearest mall kinda sucks when you’re not indulging in the more primal side of the mating ritual. And while micro-g sex has many interesting advantages, keeping you entertained while he’s zonked out from it all isn’t part of it. Realistically there’s only so many times you can watch a movie and Futuristic TV is sorta dodgey when you have to deal with close proximity solar flares.
You can, if you’re lucky, persuade him to build his spacebase of his dreams within a mere spacedive paradrop drop from earth. If you don’t mind the earsplitting, back breaking, high temperature burnout you’re likely to get from parachuting down from outer space.
Alternatively you could offer to install an anti-g device in the bedroom and paint a moonscene mural on the walls to entertain his need for the exotic. If that doesn’t work, a small hole drilled into the back of his spacesuit, and an emergency repair on the external waster disposal ejector should sort the problem out nicely. Be sure to give him a decent testimony as you rocket his body into the gravitational well of the sun…

8. Cowboys:

You cain’t git much more down-to-earth than a cowboy. Truly, you cain’t. And most cowboys are at home living in their three hundred acre ranch with two thousand head of cattle, a passle of boys to help with the roping and branding and a cook to bake them beans every livelong day of the week. And I’m quite sure you want to be there with him, eating dust, stepping in cow pats, and breathing the sweet smell of after dinner airs at the local BBQ meet in the middle of camp. Now you might, possibly be able to persuade him to modernize a little. Try dressing up in a cowskin, crawling around on all fours and saying “Moo!” This may give you a sudden and delightful surprise you weren’t really expecting. (Hey, it gets lonely out on them there cattle drives.) You also might be able to get a few additions to the ranch like a pool, sauna, patio, and a direct railway line into the heart of the nearest city with exclusive stops at all the major malls on route.
Failing that, sneaking a cowskin onto his favorite bull and waiting for it to go Moo! Is always a hilarious, if somewhat fatal, activity to watch.

9. Ghosts:

Why would a ghost want a house? You don’t know? Really, have you no sense of image. Every decent ghost has to have a suitably decent house to haunt. Decent in this case probably meaning something quite different to what you would consider decent. No self respecting ghost is going to haunt a bar and sauna for Limn’s sake. And do you really think those pink and purple flowery curtains are a suitable scary backdrop to his tried and trusted paranormal activities. Nope, nope, nope. You’re self respecting ghost is going to be demanding a run down beat up old place with more nooks than crannies. One that has ambience, which roughly translates in the human tongue as “falling to pieces”. If you are unable to get to the second floor without some kind of acrobatic skill required to jump over, leap or climb past the missing treads then he’s unlikely to want to buy it.
Of course, since he’s so dependant on you for providing proof of his existence and being the only one able to provide the “physical comfort” he needs. A few pantyless sessions in the boudoir can do a lot to change this little fellow’s mind. Failing that, accidentally inviting over a world famous exorcist and having a fun game of holy water, cross and candle kind of does the trick as well. Just make sure you jimmy out of him the location of his hidden treasure first. After all, you have a house to restore just as soon as he’s gone…

10. Invisible men:

You knew this man was trouble the minute you clapped your eye… hands on him. And selecting a house with lover boy here gets worse by the minute. Not only does he want a huge man cave in the basement, now he wants to fill it with worktops, glassware, chemicals and all sorts of dead animals and birds so he can start his experiments on tripling the size of his willy. It’s just too much. Well, everything except the tripling the size part, that is.
And on top of it all you can’t even watch TV in peace without some mouse or other escaping its cage and coming to join in your popcorn and martini dinner. Not to mention the big soggy sausage like thing he keeps slapping in your face saying “look at this, look at this.” Which really means nothing since the guy is FUNKING INVISIBLE and you have no idea what he’s trying to show you.
This is an easy situation to remedy though. If a little adventurous pantyfree sauna and massage doesn’t change his interminable laboratory habits then slipping an extra dose or two of strychnine into his willy enlarging potion should work wonders. It’s even more amusing if you embalm the body afterwards and pose it sexily and naked on Aunt Erma’s favorite easy chair. The expression on her face when she visits is a hoot.

11. Fantasy:

Choosing a home for you and your fantasy hero is—how to put this gently—Funking hard. This stems from the fact that most fantasy hero’s aren’t ready to settle down until they’ve spent years saving the world from demons, dragons, sexy witches, warlocks, evil ogre lords, sexy witches, orcs, goblins, sexy witches. (Yes, I know he keeps coming up against those sexy witches. And so do they, so do they…) So if you intend to bed down with the cozy blankets and soft down bed you’d better be prepared to sleep in caves, bivouac’s or underneath the stars for the best, uhm, thirty odd years of your relationship. And then he might, just, indulge in a small one room hut with outdoor privy. (If you’re lucky, otherwise you have to use the hedge down the road.)
Truly and honestly the best thing to do here is offer to be his banker and financial advisor and when he’s saved up enough to buy a small castle or two. Wait till he finds the sexy witch again and then send a raven mail to her extremely jealous warlock boyfriend. You can enjoy the friendship and offerings of his best mates at the funeral then retire to a small country castle at the other end of the continent. Oh, and servants. We have to hire some of those handsome stablelads to come with us…

12. Incubus:

The nice thing about the incubus is that there’s only one thing on his mind. The bad thing about the incubus is there’s only one thing his…mind. And, alas, when purchasing property it tends to take the foremost part of both of his brains. Left to himself the incubus would rent a room in a large building full of scantily clad women, lots of bedrooms and a reception area filled with a queue of eager men, young, old and ugly. Besides having to tread carefully when you walk down the corridors to avoid the fallen used condoms, there’s always the constant squeak and thump of moving beds, high pitch squeals of pretend satisfied women, and the heavy grunt of men pleased to get things off their chest.
This situation, obviously, wouldn’t do. Especially since all the handsome young men appear to be taken. What can you do? Besides tying up your incubus and poking him every now and then with a hot iron, the situation appears to be somewhat hopeless. Your best bet here is to lock him in a room with a bed, rent him out hourly to a string of panting women, and when he’s made you a small fortune accidentally drop him down a nearby well and move to the Caribbean. Didn’t you know they have absolutely divine pool boys in the Caribbean?

13. Ancient Celts:

He’ll want haggis every week—hire a cook. Having said that where an ancient Celt will want to live depends highly on his current situation. Is his present lifestyle:

a) One of peace and prosperity, in which case the best you’ll get is a draughty old castle which is cold, damp, miserable and you have to pee in a hole in the wall because none of the modern amenities have been invented yet.

b) One of running and hiding after a failed attempt to overthrow the English, a rival clan, or some other undefined enemy who he’s been at war with since the world began. In which case you’ll be living in a cave which is draughty, cold, damp, miserable and you have to pee in a hole in the ground because none of the modern amenities have been invented yet.

Whichever of these choices you get, wise up girl. Go dump the dude and find you someone nice and modern. At least you’ll have the benefit of up to date plumbing, and shop bought haggis if you really, really want it.

Agent Double D.3 report ends.

All Agent Double D.3 reports are now being archived on my forum. Come along and see me there sometime .

23 April 2010

When I grow up...

I've been thinking about career choices a lot lately. We have three teenagers -- one about to graduate high school; another will graduate next summer; and the third, a ninth-grader, is bouncing back and forth regarding job choices and future hs courses.

Personally, I think figuring it all out between ages 15-19 is too much to ask. We change so much after those years, how can we possibly know what we want to do "forever"?

I went into journalism. I loved to write and thought it would be great to see my name on that by-line. It was. For a while. But I didn't understand about the politics of that particular workplace OR the constant headache of having to one-up the competition. I'm not the most competitive person at heart. I want to go to work; do my job; get my paycheck; and come home again. Simple.

I wish I'd known then that fiction was where I should be. I wish I had been brave enough to really give it a shot... Just imagine where I might have wound up?

However, soon after entering the workforce as an adult, I got married, moved to another state and we decided I would be a SAHM. I loved it. Still do... but now I'm back in the workforce out of necessity more than true desire. My real passion, writing, is my career. Unfortunately, it's not enough to keep both my heart and soul fed. ;)

Now, our oldest has made plans for what to do with her near future. Unfortunately, everything she 'loves' to do and is really super good at, either requires an advanced degree -- at least a master's -- and/or will make her little money in the end. So she goes with an alternative, all the while hoping her true passions will someday pan out. (Yes, she's also a writer. Poor thing. But a very good one.)

Our second oldest has more of direct, no-nonsense plan. I'm impressed, actually. This one knows what school she will attend; which degrees (associates) she will attain and in what order; plus she'll be doing things she's good at and loves. Can't say I was even remotely as organized at her age. Um, at any age, lol.

The others... well, they're all young enough that it's not a true worry, yet. Thank heavens. I think children need to enjoy more and worry a lot less... That's what they have mom and dad for, right? ;)

Me? Well, I know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be Heather Graham... or Sharon Sala... or Kerrelyn Sparks. (GGGG) Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

I want to be a great writer. The kind of writer who pulls you in hard and fast and keeps you spellbound until that last page. I want you to feel a little let-down at that point, not because the story ended badly, but simply because it's over. I want to leave you wanting more.

So, I work the day job because I need it, and work at my craft in those spare moments in-between and during my volunteer jobs of: wife, mother, psychologist, chauffeur, nurse, dietitian, cook, laundress, maid, and cheerleader.

When I'm not writing, I'm plotting. When I'm not plotting, I'm day-dreaming of new characters and "What ifs". Other times I'm letting all the people in my head show me what's possible in their world. They always seem to know that world better than I.

What do you want to be... if and when you 'grow up'? ;)

22 April 2010

A Thursday Thirteen About Thursday Thirteens

I've been trying for days to come up with a fun Thursday Thirteen for this week. I have several lists with a few items and the only ones that have thirteen or more are not very...entertaining to anyone but me, shall we say. So I'm going to share with you a list of 13 Thursday Thirteens I Will Not Be Inflicting Upon You (Today).

1) 13 Writerly Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

2) 13 Atypical Uses for the Ipad

3) 13 Cool Things in the Beyond the Veil Raffle Basket to be given away at RT next week

4) 13 Things My Kid Did to Interrupt My Writing

5) 13 Books About Cats Being Smarter Than Dogs

6) 13 Post Apocalyptic Romance Novels

7) 13 Reasons I Quit Watching Smallville (I had far more than 13)

8) 13 Cancelled Genre TV Shows That Are Better than the Crap on TV Today (see item 7)

9) 13 Para-Rom Elevator Pitches You Probably Shouldn't Use at RT and RWA This Year

10) 13 of my Greatest Tweets Ever (This list was curiously blank.)

11) 13 Things To Congratulate Fellow Writers For When They Seem Like They Need A Pick-Me-Up

12) 13 Apps For Writers (FaceBook, iPhone, etc) Somebody Needs To Create

13) 13 Reasons I Couldn't Come Up With A Better Blog Post (see 1-12)


If you were going to have to vote on a list I should post for next time, which one would it be?


Jody Wallace
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

19 April 2010

Lots going on in my world. I've recently finished writing the fourth military paranormal (with zombies!) story for Kensington Brava - a novel titled A DARKER SHADE OF DEAD, which will be out in November and is already available for pre-order on Amazon. Before that, though, a novella in the series will be included in THE BEAST WITHIN, a Halloween Brava anthology anchored by Erin McCarthy. My story in the anthology, which will be out in September is called "Smoke on the Water."

Isn't the cover great? Too bad my story isn't a werewolf tale, but it is definitely paranormal and I think it'll be a fun and sexy addition to the anthology.

The first two stories in the series, HALF PAST DEAD and ONCE BITTEN, TWICE DEAD are receiving great reviews and seem to be doing well. I've had lots of comments from readers who had some concern about the whole zombie thing, but were "converted" after reading my take on the myth. Hopefully you will be too! So if the zombie thing is keeping you from trying the books, don't let it scare you. I really don't write horror. (At least I don't think I do - sure there are tense moments and a few scary parts, but I doubt anything in my books would qualify as true horror.)

I seem to have a lot of print releases this year, including the most recent, INFERNO. Here's a little bit about the book...

A forbidden union forged in love-and tempered in hellfire.

One last task and Megan will be free of the debt of honor owed by her family. Spying on Dante, a powerful vampire with questionable friends, sounds simple enough. But her mission is complicated by the fact she’s got something every vampire wants-tangy, powerful, werewolf blood.

It’s easy to capture his attention. The hard part will be getting out with her heart — and soul — intact. Not to mention her life, thanks to a crazed bomber.

Dante isn’t the kind to forgive or forget easily, especially the grudge he holds against werewolves. Still, he is instantly drawn to the injured lone wolf in his care. When he and his friend Duncan treat her wounds, they discover something that marks her as much more than she seems.

The mark is a neon sign warning to be careful, but Dante can’t help himself. He wants her and nothing will stand in his way. Not her species. Not his. Not the strange woman who keeps trying to kill him.

Not even the magical poison in Megan’s blood…

Buy in Print from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1605046027

Buy in Print from B&N: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Inferno/Bianca-DArc/e/9781605046020/?itm=1&USRI=inferno+bianca+d%27arc

17 April 2010

Ghost Story Time!

Anyone up for a couple of true, spooky tales? Okay, grab your wooby (or whatever security device you use) and hang on.

Last week I took my son Dylan and his girlfriend, Katie, down to North Carolina with me to visit my Mom. Now, Mom says she doesn't believe in ghosts, but the family history is littered with strange phenomena - and my sister and I always swore she was psychic. Plus, when we were growing up, Mom used her ability to move as silently as a ghost through the house to her best advantage. You NEVER knew when she was going to appear behind you just as you had your proverbial hand in the cookie jar.

So anyway, last week on a Thursday night, Mom and I attended a Piedmont Wind Symphony concert, in which my sister plays bass clarinet. It was a benefit concert for Home Moravian Church in historic Old Salem. (In fact, the photo on the web site's home page was taken that night in the church. My sister is on the far right in the second row.) But I digress, as usual.

While we were enjoying the concert, my son texted me with weather updates. A powerful storm cell was heading straight for us, and tornado sirens were going off all over the region. Mom and I were sitting in the balcony, so I kept one eye on the stained glass windows, figuring if the hanging light fixtures started to sway in the 400-year-old building, we'd head for lower ground.

I texted Dylan to get to the basement with Katie, and to please unplug my laptop on the way. When we got home, all was well, but Dylan was stuttering with excitement and poor Katie was white as a sheet, teeth chattering. And not because of the storm. They're Ohio kids - tornado warnings are routine for them. They were already in the basement before I told them to go there.

Slowly, between the two of them, the story came out. When they first went down to the basement - which is Mom's ginormous sewing area - both Dylan and Katie had the distinct feeling they weren't alone. Almost simultaneously, Katie said "I feel like someone else is in here" and Dylan said "I feel like Grandpa just walked into the room." (My father died about a year ago, and hadn't been able to leave the ground floor for several years prior.)

They shrugged it off, turned on the TV and watched the weather channel. Keep in mind my mother's dress form sits just off to the right of the TV, within eyeline. It's always facing toward the center of the room.

When Dylan come downstairs from unplugging computers, he noticed something odd. The dress form was turned a quarter turn toward the wall. He made a comment but Katie hadn't noticed it before. A bit later, he went back upstairs for some ice cream. When he came back down, Katie was curled up on the couch, shaking.

She had seen the dress form slowly spinning around by itself. It now had its back to the room. Of course, Katie was scared to death, but Dylan laughed and said "It's just Grandpa messing with you. He wouldn't tease you if he didn't like you."

Indeed, when my sister and I were growing up and had sleepovers with friends, Dad delighted in finding ways to scare the bejeebers out of us!

Later on that night, in the wee hours, I was sitting alone in the family room playing Vampire Wars on Facebook (a game that kept me sane while Dad was in hospice). Dad was always a night owl, and when we visited I always sat up late with him while he worked on his computer or recorded old movies from a classic movie channel. We didn't always talk, just kept each other company.

The house has a security system with motion detectors all over the place. Even when it's disarmed, you can hear a faint "beep" when you walk through a room and break one of the invisible beams.

So as I sat there in the silence, nothing in the room was moving. Yet I kept hearing that quiet little "beep" at odd intervals. It was coming from the detector right behind where Dad's favorite chair used to sit. After about the sixth or seventh beep, I glanced in that direction and said softly, "Hi Dad. I know you're here. Now go to bed."

The beeps stopped. Smiling to myself, I went back to killing virtual vampires. Comforted that our loved ones never really leave us.



(Image from Scarier Than Norman Bates' Mother by C. Taylor)

P.S. - Hey, don't forget, the annual Spring Showers extravaganza is coming up on Coffee Time Romance! Click here for details.

16 April 2010

Back to Work

Literally, in my case.

I've been a SAHM for 13 years. That's what happens when you marry the Air Force. It's not exactly conducive to most two-career families, so I happily left my job as a ticket agent at Delta Airlines and moved away for a life of high excitement, two children, and a lot of packing and unpacking. I started to write about half-way through this grand adventure, so I did have my career -- it was just at home, and I fit it in around my family's needs.

As long as my children have been in school, I've been volunteering in school libraries, whether they wanted me to or not. I can't plan parties and I'm not responsible enough to be a room mom. I'm not even a very good classroom assistant. But I shine in a library. I love them. The order, discussing the merits of Judy Moody over The Magic Treehouse, talking about fairy tales with middle school kids...I just love school libraries.

So about a month ago, I was doing my thing at school when the librarian pops up and says, "You know, they're looking for an actual library assistant at Such-N-Such School. You should apply."

In fact, since I happened to be volunteering at two libraries that day, when I mentioned it at the other one, the librarian said, "Oh yeah! You'd be great at that!"

So I did. I applied. And they called for an interview. So I went on my first interview in 13 years. Then they hired me. So I got my TB test and got fingerprinted and Wednesday was my first day of work. In 13 years.

I'm now a temporary, part-time library assistant at a high school. I'm around people all day. In some ways, it's like being a mom of toddlers again. As soon as I sit down to do one project, someone calls out and asks me to do something else instead. I started five projects yesterday and between all of us, four were accomplished, but not always finished by the person who started them.

I'm the youngest person there. Everyone else's kids are grown and gone, and some of my coworkers are grandmothers now.

But the best part? Is looking through all the books. It's a really large library and very current. There are books I've only heard of, but never seen. Books I've been wanting to read for ages. And it's a comfort to see old favorites there, too. Nora is on the shelf! And Jude Devereaux!

In any case, I'm officially a working mom now. At least until the end of the school year. And while it's very different from my previous routine, I find myself enjoying it.

Well, off to my 3rd day at work. Wish me luck!

14 April 2010

News of the Weird for travelers

There's a lot of really strange news out there these days, and it's not limiting itself to the Editorial page.
Here are three strange but true tales from the recent headlines.

Ghost Car on patrol - Car 1453 of the Westchester County police department looks almost unfinished. It's not unmarked, but it's decals and police markings are white or colorless, just like the 2009 Crown Victoria itself. The markings are almost invisible, especially to a distracted driver - one speeding, driving drunk, or texting / talking on the cell phone, which is illegal in Westchester County. One of the most interesting parts of the article - While the officer was driving, "...suddenly, there was a buzz — (Officer Tierney's) own cellphone. He pulled it out and saw it was his sergeant, so he answered. Police officers, it turns out, are exempt from the cellphone law."

Paying to Pee -

"If you take a Ryanair flight, you'll soon have to pay to pee - and more." Ryanair is a low cost Irish airline that operates mainly out of Dublin and London. In their latest Euro pinching move, they've decided to make the rest rooms on their Boeing 737's accessable only if the passengers are willing to pump some tokens or coins into the door to open it. Expecting most customers will choose to hold it in rather than pay to relieve themselves, they also plan to rip out several of the in-flight toilets to add more passenger seating - which may violate the FAA regulations allowing how many passengers they allow on their aircraft. If you're flying Ryanair, be sure to stop off in the airport faciilities before boarding - and hope they don't make you sit on the runway for long. Those long haul trips could be a bladder killer.

Your seatmate is leaning on you - is he dead or sleeping?

Many frequent travelers have had the unfortunate experience of having the person in the seat beside them fall asleep, turning their seatmates into a pillow. It used to be a good day if there is no drool involved. Maybe that standard is about to change. Two women in Liverpool tried to check in 91-year-old Curt Willi Jarant for a flight to Berlin, insisting the lifeless man was just sleeping. Airport worker Andrew Millea said he knew Jarant was dead upon the group's arrival to the airport, when he helped move the man into a wheelchair. "I did my best to help by carefully lifting the man from his seat," Millea told The Daily Telegraph. "To my horror, his face fell sideways against mine. It was ice-cold ... but they reassured me that he 'always sleeps like that.'" The two women were arrested after Millea alerted authorities... poilice believe Jarant died of natural causes.

I don't know about you, but to me staying at home is starting to sound a whole lot better. Ever had anything truly strange happen while you're on a trip?

12 April 2010

A Few Answers

“What’s it like being a writer?”

I’ve been asked this no less than seven times in the last month—that’s what I get for meeting new people. *smile* Everyone seemed to be looking for something different from my answer but time and again that one question led to three others for each of them.

One: How do you come up with ideas?

I never know how to answer about the ideas because not matter what I say it’s not what the person asking seems to expect. My ideas come from everywhere all day long without cessation. Very often an entire story can be born from nothing more than a phrase I hear or one I come up with in response to a conversation I had, overheard, read or imagined. The novel I have on submission right now began with nothing more than the last line of the first chapter; seventeen words birthed 100K and that’s my normal.

Two: How do you know the ideas are any good?

This one is easier—you don’t. Most of us bounce ideas off of fellow writers, significant others, friends, family, strangers, pets, the other people in our heads, whoever we can get to listen. Others of us just write it down, work it out and hope for the best. I’m in the middle. I don’t bounce my ideas before I write them because I feel IDEAS are all good. If it occurred to you it occurred to someone else who’ll want to read about it, so ideas aren’t the issue. EXECUTION of an idea is what needs to be rockstar and there’s no way to know if you’ve hit on it until readers tell you that you have.

Some indicators are enthusiastic betas, interested agents/editors, excited publishers and six(plus) figure advances, but in the end if you build it and they don’t come you didn’t get it right. Most ideas are valid but execution is something you learn and it’s ultimately readers that tell you when you’ve graduated or if you still need to be schooled.

Three: How do you get published?

Short answer: if you find out let me know. Longer answer: persistence and patience.

For me writing is living between three states: wishing I was writing, writing, and waiting. Wishing is the longest state and I’m working on making that significantly shorter. Writing is…writing, I don’t have words to describe the process for me that wouldn’t worry very official looking people in white lab coats so I’ll leave it there. Waiting, well waiting is eternal.

Technically even the wishing phase is a waiting phase and the writing phase is a type of waiting to be done and move on, but the “waiting” waiting phase is evil. I have control over the first two, but that point of hitting send or walking away from the post office put all my hard work into a cycle that is out of my hands. As a control-freak this is not my best state-of-being, I hate it, but I’ve found something interesting. I’d rather be waiting than not.

I’d rather have something out there and live in a constant state of “what if” every time I check email or hear the phone ring, than be in the insolated state of “still writing” where no one knows what I’m working on and no eyes have seen fruit of my labors but me. I LOVE to talk about books and authors I’m into and to have something as intimate as my own characters be something I can’t share—it feels wrong. It makes betas my favorite people but it’s not enough in that my betas can’t make a final decision on my work. (The control freak in my wanting an answer)

The perfect writing state is one or two things out on submission, something else out with betas and a current work growing under may hands as my fingers fly over the keyboard. Occupying as much of the last two states as possible is my happy place. It’s also my anxious place, my mildly obsessive-compulsive place, and my what-do-you-think-she-meant-by-that place, but a happy place all the same.

So what’s it like being a writer? It’s a lot of waiting and on some secret, (sick), level enjoying the wait because it means you’re in the game.

What's It Like Ramble Done


10 April 2010

The Library of Congress, signing with Nora, and DragonCon--oh my!

RavenCon isn’t the only thing on my calendar this month. Monday, April 12, barely hours after I return from Richmond, I’ll be reading at the Library of Congress in downtown Washington, D.C. The Library of Congress! You can’t see it, but I’m grinning so hard my cheeks are aching.

The reading resulted from a collaboration between the library’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum and Broad Universe, an international organization dedicated to exploring and promoting the work of women writers in science fiction, fantasy and horror. It will take the form of a four-person Rapid Fire Reading featuring Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Sarah Avery, fellow BtV blogger Christine Norris and me. You’ve already seen the poster I prepped when the reading was announced. Now you can read the bios, too, in the hand-out I’ll be using as our program.

But that’s not the only reason I may expire of excitement. I’ve been added to the roster of major authors (like Charlaine Harris!) signing with Nora Roberts at Turn the Page Bookstore CafĂ© in Boonsboro, Maryland, on Friday, April 16. My name and web site link seem to wander around the page, but the confirmation of my presence is right there at the bottom of the page: the buy link for Fantasy Art Templates.

I signed With Nine You Get Vanyr at the Turn the Page spring mega-signing in 2007. Nora and the top names sell hundreds of books, and even small fry like me sell in the dozens. This time, there are some new rules. For example, the writers can only sign books purchased at the event. Trust me, that’s a relief. Yes, you sign that much.

Finally, it’s official. I’m on the guest list at DragonCon. Atlanta, here I come. I can’t wait.

09 April 2010

The lure of Vampires...

Ah, the romance...the danger...the irresistible lure of immortality...and the man who would share everything just to be a part of your life.

Yep, you guessed it...the lure of the Vampire.

I remember being in college in the early nineties. Yes, I'm dating myself, but it's for a good cause. My Gothic Literature class had Dracula on the reading list. I read it with a consuming fascination and had furious debates with Dr. Ian Crawford, my advisor, about the influence it had over the books emerging from the period.

It was even being made into a movie, much to the horror of the Southern conservatives who loudly decried the entire movement as an attempt by the devil to lead the nation's youth astray. And that was my first step down the rabbit hole.

Maybe it was the taboo factor, but as a young woman struggling to find my balance in an uncertain sea of chaos, it struck a cord in me. So much so, in fact, that my thesis in college was the Vampiric Element in the Victorian Novel. I immersed myself in the myth and legends only to devour classic books of the era with my trusty highlighter in hand...searching for elements, clues, and validation that I wasn't alone in believing the classics held a darker understory if one chose to look for it.

And, way back then, before I had the confidence to ever believe I would see my name in print, I sketched out what I thought my vampire world would be like. The rules, the correlations to real life, the influence the dark and mysterious could have on my own protagonist.

It was a fantasy that stuck with me through the years. Every time I started to wander back down the path toward the vampire in my mind, I pulled back believing the idea had been done ten ways to forever and it wouldn't be original anymore. But I couldn't dismiss it. It simply would not be forgotten.

Then, one day, I discovered Destiny in a random scene writing exercise. I thought, why not? Wouldn't it be great to have a protagonist strong enough to withstand that intoxicating temptation?

You know, the thing about vampires is we think we can resist. We, as modern women, can simply smile and tease...and walk away. It's like playing with a tiger in the zoo. It looks tame and starts out innocently enough, but once you let your guard down, the claws come out and you're a goner.

I thought Destiny was made of sterner stuff. I thought she was the perfect foil for Marcus.

I didn't count on exactly how much power the idea of the vampire lover held. I fought the story. I struggled to detangle Destiny and Marcus as they pulled themselves tighter.

In the end, the vampire won. But doesn't he always?

What was your first taste of blood and destiny?

06 April 2010

Twenty Years later...it does get better.

I think lately many of us have been in mind of young Phoebe Prince, the poor teenager who took her own life after a long period of bullying at school. I myself have joined the Facebook group Young Adult Authors Against Bullying, where a bunch of YA authors write our feelings about bullying and how we can stop it. We find that many of us were the victims of teasing or bullying in our own youth, which may explain quite a lot.

This whole new phenomenon of kids killing themselves because people harrass them literally to death is terribly disturbing, and I really wish I could just talk to those kids out there that are being bullied.

It does get better. Not that I condone bullying on any level or in any form whatsoever. And I know what it's like to be teased over your hair, clothes, glasses, weight, intelligence, and things that people just make up to say about you, just to make themselves feel superior. I have been there. Years and years and years of it. I was tortured by various and sundry people over every little thing. Called names. I know kids are used to adults saying they understand when they really don't.

I really do.

But I want to tell all those kids out there to just hang on, to just tune it out or do whatever they have to to survive. Because it will get better. I'm about to attend my 2oth High School reunion. I've seen quite a lot of my classmates over the years, and history tends to rewrite itself after two decades. The guys that wouldn't give me the time of day, the jocks who teased, walked up to me and hugged me as if we had been best friends. Those perfect girls, the ones who seemed to have it all, peaked in High School. It was all downhill for them after that; not in a necessarily bad way, but they don't have the power that they used to.

At my 10 year reunion I actually had someone come and apologize for how he treated me back then. We all grew up. I talk to so many people now that could have easily thrown me off the deep end back then if I had let them. That's the point. Eventually High School ends. Eventually you all move on and grow up and get married and have families and when you meet again you are different people. But if you end your own life because of them, then they win. Don't get me wrong, there are still some people that remain bullies. I know of at least one that still is, but the rest of us are adults now, so they don't have any power over us. They're just annoying now.

You need to be able to grow up and see how it all turns out twenty years from now. It's worth it.

RavenCon Anon

RavenCon 2010 makes Richmond, Virginia, the place to be this weekend, April 9-11. The con features Rachel Caine, author of the best selling Weather Warden and Morganville Vampire series, her multi-talented artist husband R. Cat and gaming guru Steve Long as guests of honor, as well as lots of other talented writers, artists, gamers and costumers you really want to meet.

With a guest list like that, you know I couldn’t stay away. Not only that, I even strong-armed—ahem, persuaded the con committee to let me play on some panels. My schedule follows. I hope you’ll join me there!


7 p.m.: Two Way Street
Writers and artists often feed each other muses. Artists talk about the writers who inspired them and vice versa.
Panelists: R. Cat (Artist Guest of Honor), James Enge, Heidi Hooper, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), J. Andrew World

10 p.m.: Where Have All the Female Vampires Gone?
Help us find out.
Panelists: Jim Blanton, Rob Floyd, Kalayna Price (Moderator), Jean Marie Ward


11 p.m.: Ghost Hunting—New Trend or Passing Fad
There's a lot of stuff on TV and in literature—but is anyone still pursuing this at home? What makes or breaks the hunt for a ghost and how long will it continue?
Panelists: Pam Kinney, Cheralyn Lambeth, Laura Underwood (Moderator), Jean Marie Ward

10:30 a.m.: Jean Marie’s Koffee Klatsch
Come rescue me from talking to myself for a half hour after wrestling ghosts ‘til the wee hours of the morning. I will have chocolate…

Noon: That’s Bull
We all agree it's fiction but there are times when even authors take too much liberty. Panelists discuss what they have read and perhaps their own forays across the line of believability. How far will a reader be willing to go to suspend disbelief? Does a writer lose credibility or are they just pushing the envelope?
Panelists: Laura Cory-Haywood, Sarah Harvey (Moderator), Larry Hodges, Jean Marie Ward

1 p.m.: Leyaks Don’t Get No Respect
World mythology is full of weird and wondrous beings who've yet to make their mark on the fiction bestseller lists. Writers and artists talk about their favorite obscure creatures and why they deserve their time to shine…or darkly glow, as the case may be.
Panelists: Iver Cooper, Kalayna Price, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Leona Wisoker

2 p.m.: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
Four first-rate authors read exciting, bite-sized excerpts of their work that will leave you hungry for more. (Check out the flyer if you want to know more about the writers.)
Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Debra Killeen, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Diane Whiteside

05 April 2010

So You Think You Can Write A Book?

It happens to me all the time.

In the produce section of the grocery store, outside the kids' school, at the bookstore, on Facebook, by telemarketers, everywhere I turn I hear, "You're an author? I've always wanted to write a book."

It seems everyone has played with the idea of writing a book. It sounds glamorous, doesn't it? Seeing your author face on the back cover, sipping champagne with your agent, traveling the world on fancy book tours, going to all those opening night debuts of the movie version. Ahhh. It's the life. Pardon me one sec while I pop another bon bon into my mouth.

There's only one thing standing in the way of all that glorious adulation. And what was that again? Oh, yeah. Writing the book.

So tell me. If you think you can write a book, why don't you?

Oh, I can hear the excuses coming now:

1) I don't have enough time to write. I'm far too busy.

Do you want my honest opinion on that one? I see you smile. You know what I'm going to say, don't you? You and I have the exact same number of hours in a day. 24, right? And me? I have a job completely outside the realm of writing. I'm a mother and wife. I clean my own house (sometimes. Sorry hubby, I'll get on that when I finish off the bon bons), pay my own bills, do the taxes, laundry, and grocery shop. I help the kids with their homework, go to the school meetings, volunteer in the classroom. I have friends, family, and pets who need me. You get the point. I have a life.

But I also make time to write.

When people ask me how I find the time, I usually say, "Oh, I squeeze it in." I write a little before I take the kids to school, in the afternoon, at Subway when I'm eating a footlong turkey sandwich, and when the kids go to bed. I edit what I have written on the Elliptical Machine at the "Y", or when I'm waiting to pick up kids. I get up the next morning and do it all over again. I work everyday except Sunday.

Here's the big secret to being able to squeeze in the writing: You've gotta love it. I mean it. Writing is my dark chocolate kind of bliss. There's a certain joy that I get when those pages come to life that is indescribable. If the joy wasn't there, I couldn't do it. I wouldn't.

Next excuse.

2) I can't write.

Really? Who told you that? Your fourth grade teacher, your college professor, that nasty little internal voice inside your head that is also telling you that your butt looks big in those jeans and OMG is that another gray hair? Seriously. I want names. I've been aching for a butt kickin' and who ever gave you that bucket of steaming, um smelly stuff, needs a swift kick in the beehind. I am sure you can write. Maybe you just need to learn how to write BETTER. Honestly, we can all improve our writing skills. All of us.

How you ask?

a) Read, my friend, read. Go to the library, bookstore, your best friend's bookshelf, and pick up as many books as you can carry. Then do your homework. Honestly, did you think you could become a writer without putting your back into it? You've got to learn what works and what doesn't by reading other books. Take notes. Learn. Study.

b) Write! Writing is like anything else. The more you practice, the better you get. Do you know that if you can write just three pages a day you will have a rough draft finished in three and a half months. You can do this. I swear you can. Write, baby, write.

c) Share. Join a critique group that can help you improve as a writer. You will help them, they will help you, and in the end we all win.

d) Go to school. Take classes, go to conferences. Many professions require an education, why should this one be any different? Learn. Better yourself. Grow.

The excuses are running out.

3) I don't know what to write.

That's easy. Write what you love to read. You are going to be spending many precious (days, weeks, years) with this thing, so you've gotta love it. Try your hand at writing the kind of books you enjoy reading. Write what makes you happy, and the rest will follow.

There are probably more excuses out there, but I bet I can shoot them all down. Try me. Leave a comment.

And if you think you can write a book, I say go for it. What have you got to lose?

Here, take the bon bon box. I've got work to do.

Kimberley Troutte

03 April 2010

Limiting Limits

Limits, we all have them. Even Superman has kryptonite. A lot of times, however, we humans tend to believe we don’t have limits, that there is nothing we can’t do. We’re even rewarded for reaching or trying to move past our limits. The problem is: a limit is, well, limiting. it is impossible to move past our limits, at least not for very long.

The specific ways we get into trouble are usually by not defining our true limits, trying to exceed one or more limit, operating at the limit threshold for an extended period of time, operating far below one or more of our limits, and when other people believe they can define our limits better than we can.

Why define our own personal limits? Well, because if we have an idea of what we’re capable of, then we’re less likely to be too close—or too far away. For instance, if you know you need nine hours of sleep most nights in order to be at your best, then you’re less likely to take on a project that will involve a lot of late evenings. And, if you absolutely have to take on the project anyway (or choose to), then you will know you need to set aside time for naps, maybe arrange to come into work a bit later, or just not be surprised that a week into the project you’re grouchy and exhausted.

Which brings me to the next point: trying to exceed our limits. For example, the above project. You know very well that you need nine hours of sleep, but you’re Superman/woman. The need for sleep is all in your head. Other people function on six hours a night, you can too. Right? Wrong. You’re fine for a few days. I can do this, you think. You’ll show your boss/fellow employees/mother-in-law/your third-grade teacher that you’re made of steel. Sure you’re a little cranky, but that’s because of the stress of the project. Sure you fell asleep at your desk yesterday, but that was because you hadn’t eaten all day (another limit!). Maybe you manage to muddle through the project, not doing your best, but you make it. Maybe you take out your exhaustion on your wife/husband/fellow employees/mother-in-law/a stranger who looks exactly like your third-grade teacher. Or maybe you fall asleep at the wheel of the car and have a near-fatal accident. Maybe barely missing a child.

Then there are those people who get nowhere near their limits. Not you or I, you understand, but there are some who almost never push even hard enough to get near their limits. They take the easy road. The classic underachiever. These folks may not hold a job, or maybe a menial one. They’re the first to head home after work, the first to try for a free giveaway, the ones who play video games all day, who complain that they aren’t getting a fair shake in life. Who take forever to do anything. Who bore others with their long-drawn-out-talk. After all, what do they have to do? Maybe they simply don’t know what they’re capable of. Come on, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

Lastly, there are those OTHER people. The ones who know your limits better than you. Or at least they think they do. Like the boss who expects you to finish that above mentioned project. Like the mother-in-law who doesn’t believe you are doing everything you can for her baby. Like the co-worker who feels that you aren’t carrying your weight. Like the person who tells someone in a wheelchair and says, "I’d be in a wheelchair too if I had given in to my disease."

To which I say, "I’d be strangling you right now, if I gave in to my anger."

Have a great weekend!

Cheryel Hutton

02 April 2010

Unconditional Love

Hey, everyone. With Easter on the horizon, my blog title is quite appropriate, but I'm not talking religion here. Instead, I am talking about the unconditional love from our pets...specifically man's best friend - canines.

Recently, I was sidelined for over a week with a kidney stone. Wow, how could something tiny cause so much pain? I mean, really. I was praying for someone to hit me in the head with a two-by-four for a week while two different emergency centers claimed I had a UTI, gave me a prescription and sent me home. Finally, after a note from my GYN, a different ER did what the first one should have done...a scan. And yep, just as I thought, a kidney stone.

I spent two and a half days in the hospital to clear up the infection and had a stint put in while I await outpatient surgery to remove the lodged stone. Upon release, I drove myself home. When I walked through the door, I had stupidly expected a banner or a note..."Welcome Home!" No such luck, but what I did receive quickly doused my disappointment. My two doggies - Sadie and little Choco were so glad to see me, I was overwhelmed by their enthusiasm. Choco, in particular, had been with me nonstop during the entire week I lay in bed, and once I got home from the hospital, it took him days to allow me out of his sight.

Choco was so funny. While I lay in bed and slept, he kept himself entertained by carrying his toys into the bedroom and onto the bed. In fact, one morning I rolled over one.

So, that's my short message today. It's no wonder we get so attached to our pets and they become such an important part of our family. It's easy to love them as they show their love for us every day...or at least I hope that's the same for you, lol.

Unconditional love. Hmmm....perhaps that is why vampire romance has become such a hit these days (shameless segway into the April 6th print release of the third novel of The Watchers series - Midnight Revelations). The intense emotion from an alpha male who can rip a man apart with his bare hands, but will also give his last breath for his love's happiness. He can sense when his love needs a slow dance between the sheets or rock her world into the next universe.

Ahhh...love. Whether two legs or four, warms your heart, doesn't it?

D. McEntire www.dmcentire.com www.mybookstoreandmore.com keyword: D. McEntire